DFP Budget Meeting - Key Asks

Following a consultation meeting with Department of Finance and Personnel officials we have collated the five key asks expressed at the meeting, alongside tips from the Department on what to include in consultation responses.

Five key asks from sector

It is important the grant funding is not viewed as a hand-out; it is given with clear objectives and achieves key aims. Targeting grant programmes first to reduce spending and looking internally second is not adequate economic planning. Decisions taken now should be to set up the public sector for the next three to four years, not just this year.

Need for an overview of the budget as a whole, the draft budget should not just be viewed through Departmental silos. An overview would ensure the same groups of people are not being repeatedly hit by reductions across varying Departments.

How each Department takes decisions re equality differs wildly. It would be beneficial if DFP undertook work with the Equality Commission to develop best practice in equality screening, in line with Section 75, as currently Departments can carry out equality screening how they feel is best leading to varying outcomes.

Developing a risk register would be useful, voluntary and community organisation assist Departments in hitting various targets, particularly European Environmental targets (e.g. freshwater, birds and habitats), reducing funding for these organisations will mean it is less likely Departments will meet targets and therefore may face infraction fines much higher than the total amount of funding withdrawn.

New ideas for revenue raising should come forward from Departments or begin to be discussed.

Key points from the Department

Officials were keen to stress that the budget consultation does change outcomes.

This is also an opportunity to state in responses where you believe the additional Barnett Consequentials as a result of the Autumn Statement should be diverted to.

Officials also pointed out that it was important to respond not just to DFP but to individual Departments who will give DFP an overview of the responses they received. They also recommend speaking/writing to relevant Committees who have a scrutiny role for their Department.

The deadline for responses to the draft budget for 2015-16 is the 29th of December

You can access the draft budget consultation document here and a summary here.

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